Working Smarter

Working Smarter, Not Harder – The “Right” Stuff

More often than not, I get the following questions about my company, “So, how many employees do you currently have? or “How big is your team?” I really love this question, not because of the question itself, but the answer that I have been able to prepare, being that I have heard it so many times. Here it goes. It is not about the size of your team, but the “right” people and their supporting training, processes, and tools, the “right stuff.” Sure, these may not be the answers to all your problems, however, attaining the right people and right stuff, will lead you down the path to long term supply chain success.

The “Right” People & Training

Too often, companies hire based on short term tactical needs rather than long term operational needs, however, it is critical companies take the time to hire the right people and provide them with the right training.

At a high growth company, it is normal to need people quickly, due to influxes of new business causing a corresponding need for people fast. The right person is both a cultural fit for the company and skill set match for the position. The right person has a positive immediate impact on company initiatives while hiring the wrong person quickly can slow and even harm progress. The right people today demand that companies have or implement an operating structure to allow them and their team members to effectively work together. There are many effective operating structures but the common theme among them is role clarity, empowerment, and tracking the right metrics. The right hires early on in your organization’s formation lay the foundation upon which you can build a world class supply chain team for the long term.

Once you are able to land the right person for your company culture and the position, it is equally as important to train them properly and treat them well in order to retain them for the long term. As the wise Sir Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” If you train and treat the right people the right way, then, not only do you ensure a positive working environment but you also instill motivation which, ultimately drives productivity, efficiency, and results. Retaining the right people also ensures you do not have to continually go through the exercise of recruiting, hiring, and training, which will save your company valuable time and money.

The “Right” Processes & Tools

Outside of having a team full of the right people that have the right training, it is extremely important to have sufficient processes and tools with which your team can leverage to drive results.

It is critically important for high growth companies to identify and document their core, right, processes. Documenting the right processes isn’t easy, but we have found success bringing together team members from multiple functions to ensure every core process and hand-off is documented. We also find that pushing ourselves to document a process on one piece of paper fosters simplicity and refinement of our core processes. Once your processes are documented, it is essential you communicate your processes to ensure compliance and optimization over time as your business scales. In order to efficiently manage quick short term growth spurts it is critical that companies identify, document, communicate, and optimize their processes.

There are a number of potential tools that can be leveraged but we often find the most impactful right tool is a supply chain software platform that can allow your team to work smarter. While Excel documents can get the job done in an early stage startup, an automated supply chain software platform can rocket your company to the next stage of growth. Partnering with an organization that offers the right software solution, will truly allow your team to better collaborate, communicate and, ultimately realize results quicker. The right software should, at the very least, provide you and your team complete visibility and line of sight on program statuses, open items, and completed tasks. There are many capable software platforms on the market, today, however, it is uber important to find the one that is the right fit for your organization.

The right person not only contributes from day one, but after only a few short months, they are an invaluable staple within your organization, and you would be negatively affected if they were to leave. As painful as it may be to hold out on a certain hire, if you feel they are the “right” person for the position, then wait, your supply chain will succeed in the long term as a result of your patience. Supporting your people with the right training, processes, and tools will ensure you retain your people and build a world class supply chain operation. Always ensure that your organization has the “right” stuff, people, training, processes, and tools in place; there is no doubt it will allow you and your team to work smarter, not harder.

-Tony